Mumbai power failure: Some hospitals manage patient care; others delay surgeries

Updated: 13 October, 2020 07:11 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

BMC supplies diesel to hospitals to ensure there were no power failures especially in ICUs

Power at KEM hospital was restored around 4 pm
Power at KEM hospital was restored around 4 pm

Hospitals went into a crisis-management mode on Monday in the face of the power outage. While some tried to manage the load of patients, others had to postpone surgeries as conducting them would have been risky on back-up power. Though most private and public hospitals had generators to fall back on, BMC had to supply diesel to some of the smaller hospitals to keep their services running smoothly.

Power diverted to ICU

Among the major civic hospitals, at KEM, power was restored around 4 pm while both Nair and Sion hospitals got power between 1 pm-1:30 pm. However, doctors at Nair hospital said there was no electricity in the outpatient department. "The power was diverted to other areas like the ICU and doctors in the OPD had to use flashlights. Some wards didn't have electricity for some time. But this did not affect patient care," said a Nair doctor. He added that some elective surgeries were postponed. When contacted, Nair hospital dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal said, "No surgeries were cancelled or postponed. There was electricity in the OPD and there may have been a lag in switching on the back-up power."

Doctors at all civic-run hospitals, however, were unanimous about the sad plight of their colleagues who had to continue their duties in PPE kits. A doctor at Sion hospital said, "We tried to manage the situation by reducing the count of doctors in PPE kits. Those in the safe zone did not wear PPE suits and those who were wearing it were appointed at high-risk areas."

However, the Nair hospital doctor said since duty hours were 8 am to 2 pm, on-duty doctors had no choice but to pull through during the outage.

Too risky

State-run hospitals like GT hospital and St George hospital got back power within a couple of hours, while JJ Hospital ran on the generator until 3:30 pm. A doctor at GT hospital said many elective surgeries had to be postponed by a day. "We didn't know when the power would be back and it is too risky to start a major surgery on back-up power. We couldn't do them in the evening either as getting access to blood and other resources at that time can be risky. Only emergency surgeries were taken up," he said. When contacted, Dr Ranjeet Manakeshwar, dean of JJ Hospital said they had generators for all ICUs. "We had back-up power in the main operation theatre and no surgeries had to be postponed," he said.

Meanwhile, civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal offered to supply diesel to all hospitals to ensure there were no power failures especially in ICUs. An official from the transport department said, "We supplied 5,415 litres of diesel to Cooper, Kasturba, SevenHills, Shatabdi, trauma hospitals and COVID care centres in BKC and NSCI Dome among others. Due to the power outage, our pumps weren't working and we had to install manual pumps." The maximum amount of diesel was supplied to hospitals in the western suburbs.

Also Read: Mumbai power failure: COVID-19 patients left gasping for oxygen

While major private hospitals like Lilavati and Bombay hospital had enough back-up power to ensure no services were interrupted, some of the smaller private hospitals had to postpone some surgeries.

At Zen Multi-specialty Hospital in Chembur, director Dr Roy Patankar said that while they didn't face power issues, their internet service collapsed and disrupted their applications as well as mobile network. He added that some hospital staffers were stuck in local trains as well, which led to delay in elective endoscopies and surgeries.

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First Published: 13 October, 2020 07:05 IST

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